UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Thursday in his remarks to the Security Council that the COVID-19 pandemic threatens global peace.
“In some conflict settings, the uncertainty created by the pandemic may create incentives for some actors to promote further division and turmoil,” Guterres stated. “This could lead to an escalation of violence and possibly devastating miscalculations, which could further entrench ongoing wars and complicate efforts to fight the pandemic.”
Guterres noted that many fear that the lack of preparedness exposed by the pandemic could provide a window of opportunity for terrorism and bio-terrorism in the future.
The Secretary-General also noted that this pandemic triggered or worsened human rights challenges.
“We are seeing stigma, hate speech, and white supremacists and other extremists seeking to exploit the situation,” the UN chief said.
On a more positive note, Guterres said that some warring parties have “laid down their arms” amid the pandemic.
“To prevail against the pandemic today, we will need to work together. That means heightened solidarity,” Guterres urged. “This is the fight of a generation—and the raison d’être of the United Nations itself.”
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